Hurt by weaker-than-expected December sales, BJ’s Wholesale (NYSE:BJ) said Wednesday it plans to shutter five underperforming stores in the southeast.
The Natick, Mass.-based warehouse club also announced the resignations of Frank Forward, its chief financial officer, and Thomas Gallagher, its executive vice president of club operations.
The moves come as BJ’s warned its same-store sales rose just 3.8% in the crucial month of December, missing expectations. Overall sales jumped 7.3% to $1.25 billion. Merchandise sales were up 1.4%, excluding gasoline.
BJ’s said it plans to close five underperforming stores by the end of the month and restructure its home office and certain field operations. Three store closures are set for the Atlanta market, one in Sunrise, Fla., and another in Charlotte, N.C.
“The five clubs to be closed have historically underperformed and, after careful consideration, we concluded that improvement of their operating results was unlikely,” CEO Laura Sen said in a statement.
BJ’s said the restructuring moves will result in charges of $42 million to $44 million, or 78 cents to 82 cents per share, for its fiscal fourth quarter.
Sen said BJ’s will use the savings from the moves to invest in new clubs, remodels, and information technology, “all of which are vital to our competitiveness, future growth and profitability.”
The retailer tapped Robert Eddy as its new CFO, succeeding Forward, who is leaving as part of a planned transition that has been under discussion since 2007. Eddy is currently a BJ’s senior vice president and director of finance.
Cornel Catuna, a senior vice president of field operations, is set to replace Gallagher, who BJ’s said has decided to retire for “health reasons.”
Shares of BJ’s have rallied more than 40% from a year ago.